2012-08-19

Fanellhorn (3124m)

Weekend! This means getting up at 5 o'clock in the morning and heading for the mountains. This time I'm aiming for a 3000m double feature, starting with the Fanellhorn (3124m). I take the train to Vals in Graubünden, the canton where some people speak an even less decipherable gibberish than the usual Swiss German ;-) Arriving 9:30 in the morning I take the long route through the Peil valley - direct approaches are boring. It is already quite hot with hardly a cloud in the sky.

The valley is quiet and secluded. While I meet a couple of people at first it gets more and more deserted as I make my way up along the Peil creek. Reaching the pass at 2710m the trail is now marked as a "blue" difficult route and follows the north east ridge up to the summit which I reach around 15:30. The view is spectacular, only a few cloud fragments are drifting through the deep blue sky. The little book used as a summit register is hidden in one of the cairns on the peak. The cairn stands taller than a man and pulling out the stone hiding the book feels like a dangerous version of Jenga ;-)

Descending from the pass in the opposite direction which I came up I pass the beautiful lake Guraletsch. No time for a bath though, since I'm trying to reach the Zervreila hut in time for dinner which is served till 19:00. I had called them a week ago, asking for accommodation. Of course they are fully booked, so I at least want to get some food. The hut is located just below an impressive hydroelectric dam which dams up the valley and flooded a village when it got built in 1957. The lake is named Zervrailla after the village it destroyed. I get served a big plate of Schnitzel mit Pommes, just what I need right now. The innkeeper is very nice and, seeing the sleeping foam mat fastened to my backpack, offers to leave the door open tonight so I can use their bathroom.

I have other plans however and cross the dam. I want to head as far up the mountain and towards tomorrow's destination as the remaining daylight will allow. With the weather as good as it is people are making hay everywhere. I meet a farmer who's stuck in the mud with his loaded hay transporter. I offer my help and together we try to get it free. Hopeless, the central drivetrain sits on solid rock while all four wheels are spinning helplessly in almost liquid mud and dirt. I leave him waiting for his buddys to arrive with more equipment (and meet them some minutes later, coming down from the farm).

Continuing in the general direction I need to go for tomorrow I scramble up pathless terrain until dusk forces me to pitch camp. So I throw down my foam mat some 300m above the treeline at 2250m altitude and bivvy right there. A view for kings. I had trouble sleeping the last couple of days since the nights were too hot. Not so now. I'm wearing a wooly hat against the cold breeze and immediately fall asleep after dark. I wake up once during the night (funnily enough I think because the cows and sheep stopped moving about and the constant bell sounds stopped ;-)). Moonless night with not even a single cloud. Even sleepy eyed and without my glasses I can see every single fucking star in the whole Milky Way. Glorious!

~20km, ~2300m up, ~1300m down, 12 hours from start to bivvy

View towards the North-East: My approach route through Peil valley to the right, Lake Guraletsch to the left.
Summit ridge
Towering cairn
360° View
Lake Guraletsch
Zervreila dam
Lifesaver!
Good night!